The 3D shopping experience offered on EspaceMax, in partnership with Dassault Systèmes
For the last in our series of Online Private Sale and Discount Sites, we focus on Europe, arguably the pioneering region of the business model, with names like Vente Privée and EspaceMax dating as far back as 2001. When Jacques-Antoine Granjon and his seven partners were designing Vente Privée back in 2000, they envisioned a platform where designers could quickly sell old stock, without harming the brand’s image or competing with other distribution channels, where the third party could maximise their returns.
The model has been applied with particular success in the US and China, and is rapidly gaining popularity in ‘emerging’ markets like Brazil, Mexico and India. Here we provide an comprehensive round up of key flash sales sites for luxury goods within the UK and Europe, but for a complete listing of sites from around the globe, we invite you to explore the Luxury Society directory.
EspaceMax was originally launched in 1993, as a physical showroom in Paris. In 2005 they launched online activities, which now includes private sales (off and on line), dedicated e-shops and in-season corners for high-end brands. The group is also aiming to become an online department store, offering a global distribution solution for brands and a large variety of products and prices for customers. In September 2010, EspaceMax raised €13M in Series A funding, backed by Serena Capital, Masseran Gestion and Amundi Private Equity Funds.
LS Company Profile: luxurysociety.com/espacemax
Combining flash sales for home, kitchen, garden children’s, gift and travel brands, Achica is a members-only luxury lifestyle portal, offering members up to 70% off retail prices. The site was co-founded by seasoned online retailers Quentin Griffiths and William Cooper, former co-founder of ASOS and CEO of TradeDoubler respectively. Both partners had jointly invested in several online retail ventures since 2000 before launching Achica in February 2010.
BuyVIP was launched in 2006, simultaneously in Spain and Germany, by entrepreneurs Gustavo Garcia and Gerald Heydenreich. Amazon then acquired the members-only retail club in late 2010, reportedly for $96.5 million. At the time of acquisition, BuyVIP employed more than 120 employees, with subsidiaries in Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Austria.
Cocosa was launched in 2008 by Bauer Media, publisher of Grazia, Pop and Arena Homme in the United Kingdom. The members-only site sells luxury fashion and accessories at discounted prices and today has more than 500,000 members. It was just this July sold to Mohamed al-Fayed, former owner of Harrods, believed to be a springboard in launching a new online retail empire.
Fashion Friends, Switzerland
Fashion Friends is Switzerland’s first online shopping club, launched in April 2009 by Peter Schüpbach, with a team of five and 250 members. Today the business employs over 80 people and provides flash sales to over 250,000 members. Peter is a serial web entrepreneur and business angel, beginning in 1998 with the launch of Miracle, a web 1.0 ERP software venture. He now is an investor in StudiVZ, Xing Switzerland and the Chairman and CEO of GenevaLogic.
Estimated to have over seven million registered members and revenue growth of 600% year on year, KupiVIP.ru,operated by Privat Trade Ltd, is Russia’s largest online shopping club. In April 2011 the site secured $55 million in third round funding, one of the largest deals on record for the Russian e-commerce sector. Headquartered in Moscow, the site was founded by Oskar Hartmann, a German-born entrepreneur.
Established in Barcelona in 2006 by Lucas Carne and Jose-Manuel Villanueva, Privalia is a private sales club serving Spain, Italy, Brazil and Mexico. It has approximately 5 million members worldwide and has successfully raised $218 million since its launch. In March 2011, Privalia acquired Germany’s online clothing and apparel retailer Dress for Less, for a reported 150-200 million euros.
Secret Sales, UK
Launched in July 2007 by Nish Kukadia, Sach Kukadia, Michael Cody and Silvia Cody, in London’s Notting Hill, Secretsales.com retails brands like Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Christian Dior at up to 70% off. Germany’s Brands4friends, who have since contributed a second, made an initial investment in early 2010, round of funding in the ‘multi-million pound’ region.
Snapstore by Cameleon, Belgium
Jean-Cedric Van der Belen entered the private sales market at the age of 18, with the launch of Cameleon, the forerunner of private sales in Benelux. The Cameleon Group now comprises of Snapstore, Woluwe, Ixelles and Genval private stores, employing 150 people, with a turnover in excess of 40 million Euros per annum.
Vente Privée, France
Hailed as the pioneer of the online flash sale for luxury brands, Vente Privée was founded in 2001 by current CEO, Jacques-Antoine Granjon, and seven partners. Jacques-Antoine and his team conceptualised a model whereby out of season stock could be sold, through limited-time sales events on the internet. In July 2007, Summit Partners acquired a minority stake in vente-privee.com.
For more in our series of Prime Listings, including the last in our series of Online Private Sale and Discount Sites, please see our most recent editions as follows:
- 13 Online Private Sale and Discount Sites, The Americas
- 11 Online Private Sale and Discount Sites, Asia
- 15 Executive Luxury Education Programs: France
- 11 Unmissable Luxury Lifestyle Exhibitions